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Netflix's Reed Hastings' compliment pleases Hotstar

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MUMBAI: When the world’s most successful video on demand player Netflix acknowledges you as a rival to watch out for, you obviously are going to be fairly kicked about it. That’s the case at Star India-owned Hotstar.

Sources reveal that the team – led by Ajit Mohan - inside the domestically originating service is pretty happy about the comment that Netflix CEO Reed Hastings made last week in an interaction with the media.

Said he: “Here in India, consumers are fortunate because there's a great battle with Hotstar, Amazon, YouTube and Netflix, and maybe others, all competing for consumer’s time. When you use your mobile phone, laptop, smart TV, there are many services to go to. You can do many things. We’re one of the choices. What’s unique about Netflix is that we have got these international originals, combined with local talent.”

Hotstar India claims to have around 60 million subscribers in India and is gung-ho about going global. The plan is to target Indians globally and possible other international viewers too: the number is anywhere between 25-50 million worldwide.

The other two players – Amazon and YouTube – are backed by global super heavyweights, while Hotstar is backed by Star India, which is part of Twenty First Century Corp. The latter is a midget compared to both and Google and Amazon in terms of valuation and market capitalisation.

Says a media commentator: “Hotstar is targeting a billion minutes a day of watch time. Netflix does multiples of that in a day worldwide. Hence, to be named as a competitor to be watched out for is a stripe on the Hotstar team’s shoulders. As compared to Netflix, Hotstar has a smorgasbord of content offerings which are very local – right from soaps to series to films, primarily in house content created for its television channels. Or there’s the movies and the international shows from good libraries. Of course, in recent times, it has been curating original Indian content. And then, there is the IPL which drives the nation crazy. It’s interesting to see how team Netflix will actually do battle with it in the marketplace as it seeks to scale up the numbers in India.”

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